Three years after giving Churchgate station in Mumbai a glass facade for a 21st-century corporate look’, Western Railway (WR) is all set to partially dismantle the cladding to improve ventilation after employees working there complained of feeling hot and stifled. Encasing the station building in glass and aluminium cost WR Rs 4.8 crore, but the initial plan to install blowers or a central air conditioning system proved too expensive. The building’s design is a mix of aluminum panels and glass panes. About 10 per cent of the glass panes will be removed for increased ventilation, which translates to over 50 panes. The issue is presently being discussed with the general manager, WR. The station building is located bang opposite the WR headquarters, a beautiful Grade 1 heritage structure that figures on UNESCO’s world heritage list. Built in the 19th century, it is in stark contrast to the rather unsightly glass-covered hulk. “It’s not just hot inside, there are other issues too. Many windows in the glass facade have been opened for more ventilation, and people are throwing garbage which is getting stuck in the metal frame and the building’s original facade. This could lead to a fire and other hazards,” an employee working in the building said. The Rs 4.8-crore plan included covering the building with reflective tinted glass, false ceiling with illumination for the main concourse, leveling of platforms and new roofs that extended over the entire platform. A woman employee working there said ever since the facade was installed, fresh breeze has been cut off. “There are slits to allow air inside, but the panels have blocked this. Also, most senior officers cannot understand the problem as they sit in air conditioned cabins. It gets really stuffy inside in summer and even during the rains,” she added. (Source: Mumbai Mirror, March 28, 2014)
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